After exploring the play and developing a production concept during our
ACE-funded R&D in March 2021, we are so excited that the production has been picked up by the brilliant Katy Galloway Productions and programmed at Southwark Playhouse for a 4-week run in February 2023. 3 hearts canvas will remain on board as creative producers.
Click the button below to read more about the production and book tickets on the Southwark Playhouse website!
SMOKE by Kim Davies is a gripping modern adaptation of August Strindberg’s ground-breaking play, Miss Julie.
The story takes place in a pre-Me Too New York City at a BDSM party. Julie (Meaghan Martin) is a privileged college dropout dipping her toes into the world of S&M. John (Oli Higginson) is a cynical struggling artist willing to act as her guide. Their whirlwind encounter starts as a sexually charged game of cat and mouse.
As they get to know each other, these seemingly self-possessed characters have their boundaries and notions of consent challenged. The consequences are irreparable and unsettling.
SMOKE is a piercingly witty and sometimes painful exploration of gender, sexuality and desire. It reminds us that, similar to these imperfect characters, we still have much to learn.
The play was a Critics’ Pick of The New York Times and Time Out New York. This all-new production marks its London premiere and is co-directed by powerhouse female team, Polina Kalinina and Júlia Levai.
"Intense, provocative, and exceedingly clever"
New York Times
"A cynical, magnetic miniature about consent"
Time Out New York
"Such an important play . . . honest, unflinching"
New York Theatre Review
SMOKE is the story of an encounter between two young people at a BDSM sex party in New York - told entirely in real-time. Julie, a privileged college student keen to break out of her cotton-wool bubble meets John, a failing artist working round-the-clock as an assistant to one of America's most high-profile photographers.
Inspired by Strindberg's Miss Julie, SMOKE interrogates the issue of consent and provokes our pre-conceptions of what a 'victim' or an 'abuser' looks like.
Re-imagined through a 2021 lens, this production will feature brand new staging, design and an updated version of the text.
We are currently in an R&D stage of development at the Donmar Warehouse Clore Studio. The workshop is being led by directors Polina Kalinina and Júlia Levai alongside actors Oli Higginson (John) and Meaghan Martin (Julie), designer Zöe Brennan, and intimacy director Lizzy Talbot. We are also in consultation with several members of the BDSM community. The production is produced by 3 hearts canvas in association with Tanya Truman.
More about the team
Polina Kalinina | Director
Polina is a Russian theatre director working in the UK. After completing her training at LAMDA she went on to work as an assistant director at the Orange Tree Theatre. It was there that Polina made her professional debut with Dutchman Amiri Baraka. She was an Associate for the Actors Touring Company, working on The Events by David Greig at the Young Vic and on tour. Credits include: Playboy of the Western World (Southwark Playhouse), Romeo & Juliet (Bristol Tobacco Factory), Flashes (SOHO Theatre), Islanders (SOHO Theatre), Overruled (Old Red Lion), Dutchman (Orange Tree), and assistant to Lyndsey Turner on various scenes for the Royal Court Gala. She also worked as assistant director to Stephen Jameson at the Lyric Hammersmith, and on Brighton Beach Project at Shoreditch Town Hall. Polina is a JMK Finalist and Michael Grandage Company Futures Bursary recipient. She holds a BA in English Literature from Corpus Christi college Oxford and an MA in European Theatre from Edinburgh University.
Júlia Levai | Associate Director
Júlia is a theatre director & dramaturg from Budapest based in London. In 2020, she won a place on the Young Vic Theatre's Jerwood Directors Programme where she was assistant director to Elizabeth Freestone on Nora: A Doll's House. She is currently resident director at the National Theatre Belgrade in Serbia, and is developing a new short piece as part of FivePlays which will on at the Young Vic in February 2021. Júlia trained on the LAMDA directors course where she assisted directors including Sarah Frankcom, Natalie Abrahami and Iqbal Khan. She previously graduated with a First in Theatre: Writing, Directing and Performance from from the University of York, and was a Trainee Director at York Theatre Royal where she was mentored by Artistic Director Damien Cruden. During her time at York Theatre Royal she was assistant director on a Main House show, curated and programmed a festival for young people, and directed a devised show, 'Amphibious' which ran at the York Theatre Royal Studio. She also works as a script reader for the 2021 Papatango Prize, Women's Prize for Playwriting (Paines Plough), the Bruntwood Prize, and Finborough Theatre.
Oli Higginson | John
Meaghan Martin | Julie
Oli trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and was recently nominated for a 2020 Stage Debut Award.
Theatre includes: The Haystack (Hampstead Theatre), Hamlet (Theatre Royal Windsor), The Cherry Orchard (Theatre Royal Windsor), The Last Five Years (Southwark Playhouse), Napoleon Blown Apart (Arcola Theatre), Maggie & Ted: Birth of Brexit (White Bear), The Twelfth Disciple (Bristol Old Vic Basement), The Assassination of Marcus Garvey (Theatre 503), and Brutus in Julius Caesar for the Sam Wanamaker Festival at The Globe in 2019.
Television includes: The Pursuit of Love (BBC), Series 1 & 2 of Bridgerton (Netflix), Cursed (Netflix).
Film includes short films Family Reunion, Snap, Before Seven, and Thoughts.
Radio includes: Doctor Who - Early Adventures: After the Daleks (Big Finish Productions).
Prior to training as an actor, Oli graduated with First Class Honours in Theology from the University of Bristol.
Meaghan trained at LAMDA.
Theatre includes: The Actor's Nightmare (Park Theatre), Underexposed (Old Red Lion), 13 (Kirk Douglas Theatre, Los Angeles), Othello (LAMDA), 'Tis Pity She's a Whore (LAMDA).
Television includes: Series lead Bianca Stratford in10 Things I Hate About You (ABC Family), House (FOX), Awkward (MTV), Wendy: The Series (Alloy Entertainment), The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (Disney Channel), Close To Home (CBS), Melissa & Joey (ABC Family), Jessie (Disney Channel), Wedding Band (TBS/Freemantle), Just Jordan (Nickelodeon).
Film includes: Mean Girls 2 (Paramount Pictures), Dear Lemon Lima, Camp Rock, Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, Geography Club, The Good Mother (Lifetime), Journey, Safelight, Senior Project, Sironia, Privileged and short films Wives of the Landed Gentry, Before Seven, Bad News, and Naked Times which was a finalist in the Cannes Straight 8 Film Festival.
Radio includes: Hell Cats (Audible).
Meaghan voiced and motion captured Jessica in the video game Until Dawn and continues to voice the character of Naminé in the Kingdom Hearts series.
Meaghan is currently completing a degree in Anthropology and Environmental Sustainability.
Zoë Brennan | Set & Costume Designer
Zoë Brennan is a set and costume designer for theatre, dance, and installation. She recently graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Set & Costume design credits include: Wild Swimming (Bristol Old Vic), Something in Your Voice by Emergency Chorus (Bristol Old Vic), Under the Greenwood Tree (Cheltenham Everyman), The Prince of Homburg (The Space), The Owl and the Pussycat (Cheltenham Everyman), Crave (The Other Room), The Master and Margarita (Zoo Venues Edinburgh Fringe), Spring Awakening (RWCMD), Red (LAMDA).
Lizzy Talbot | Intimacy Co-ordinator
Jai Morjaria | Lighting Designer
Tanya Truman | Associate Producer
Antony James | Producer
Antony graduated with First class honours in Philosophy & Business in 2014. After an accountancy training, Antony worked at two of London's most renowned investment banks. Always passionate about theatre and the arts, he left the accountancy profession to work in production in several TV companies in Los Angeles. He recently returned to London to work with 3 hearts canvas on The Actor's Nightmare at Park Theatre in 2019. He now works freelance in theatre, tv, and film production as well as live music events.